Return of Federal Financial Aid Funds

The Higher Education Amendment of 1998 stipulates that recalculations of financial aid awards must be completed for any Title IV recipient who totally withdraws from Middlesex County College (MCC). The federal recalculation formula calculates how much Title IV funds are earned for attendance up through the 60% mark of the semester.

Financial aid students who withdraw prior to the 60% mark of the semester or who receive final grades of F or a combination of F grades and Withdrawals maybe required to return a portion of the federal financial aid received.  In addition, if a student receives all final grades of F and Withdrawals, Satisfactory Academic Progress will be affected and an appeal may need to be submitted to regain financial aid eligibility.

Funds to be returned:

Students receiving assistance from Federal Title IV programs are required to complete a minimum number of days during a given semester.  If the student completely withdraws from school during the semester or stops attending, thereby earning F grades, federal regulations require that the student must return the unearned part of the financial aid funds received.

Withdrawing from the college and its effects on financial aid

  • If the student completely withdraws from all classes prior to the 60% mark of the semester, a pro-rated portion of the federal aid received must be returned to the federal aid programs equivalent to the percentage of the semester not in attendance.
  • If the student remains enrolled and attends class beyond the 60% mark of the semester in which aid is received, all federal aid is considered earned aid does not have to be repaid.
  • If the student stops attending all courses during the semester, and receives final grades of F, a pro-rated portion of the federal aid received, based on the documented last date of attendance, must be returned to the federal aid programs. If the college is unable to document the last date of attendance, one-half of all federal aid received during the semester must be returned to the federal aid programs.

If the student owes money to the college as a result of receiving unearned grades of F and withdrawing from all classes or a combination of both, the student is notified from the Financial Aid Office via email and letter. A bill is also sent from the Office of Student Account Services.

Comment: In order to receive an Incomplete grade (I), the student must be actively attending up to the conclusion of the semester.

Definition of Actively Attending:

If a student has engaged in academically related activities for the class, the student is considered attending the class.

Academically related activities include but are not limited to the following:

  • physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the
    instructor and students;
  • submitting an academic assignment;
  • taking an exam, completing an interactive tutorial, or participating in computer-assisted
    instruction;
  • attending a study group that is assigned by the school;
  • participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and
  • initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

In a distance education course, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question.

Examples of acceptable evidence of academic attendance and attendance at an academically- related activity in a distance education program include the following activities which demonstrate active participation:

  • student submission of an academic assignment,
  • student submission of an exam,
  • documented student participation in an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction,
  • a posting by the student showing the student’s participation in an online study group that is
    assigned by the institution,
  • a posting by the student in a discussion forum showing the student’s participation in an online discussion about academic matters, and
  • an e-mail from the student or other documentation showing that the student-initiated contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.